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Kingsgate footbridge
River Wear, Durham, UK
Kingsgate footbridge
associated engineer
Sir Ove Arup
Ove Arup & Partners
date  1961 - 1963
era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NZ274421
ICE reference number  HEW 178
photo  Jane Joyce
The reinforced concrete footbridge that spans the River Wear in Durham juxtaposes the old with the new ó an elegant concrete structure in the shadow of a Norman catherdral. The success of its design is a personal testament to its design engineer, Sir Ove Arup, born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
The footbridge spans 106.7m and stands 17m above the river, in a steeply sloping valley. It links the old city with the then recently-built Durham University campus. The site is historically sensistive and a scheme that disturbed it as little as possible was needed.
Arupís solution was inspired. He designed the bridge so that it could be built in separate, self-supporting halves. These are mounted on cylindrical concrete piers, located unobtrusively, on which the bridge halves could be rotated during construction. The half-bridge assemblies were aligned on the banks and set on temporary bearings. They were then rotated to meet at the centre of the span, jacked up and re-levelled, and their bearings made permanent.
This strategy minimised site disruption by avoiding the need to span the river to create temporary formwork, the more-usual process for such a bridge.
The abutments are high on the valley sides, while the bases of its twin piers stand low on each side of the water. The 2.75m wide concrete deck is supported by tapering, angled concrete beams in splayed V formation, one pair from each pier. The parapets are solid.
The bridge's spare construction is emphasised by the protruding ends of the girders that support the deck.
Construction: Holst & Co Ltd
Research: ND
reference sources   CEH North
Location

Kingsgate footbridge